Costa Rica, which has already banned sport hunting and animal circuses is on a crusade to release all animals from captivity, citing that all interactions with animals should happen in their natural environment.
“We are getting rid of the cages and reinforcing the idea of interacting with biodiversity in botanical parks in a natural way,” said Environment Minister René Castro. “We don’t want animals in captivity or enclosed in any way unless it is to rescue or save them.”
Though Costa Rica occupies only 0.03% of the landmass of earth, it is home to around 500,000 unique organisims, more than 4% of all the known species on the planet.
In March, 2014, the Costa Rican Environmental Ministry issued notice on day too late to FUNDAZOO, the company that administers San José’s Simón Bolívar Zoo, and so missed their opportunity to shut the zoo down before a 10 year contract was renewed. FUNDAZOO now has legal recourse to operate the zoo until March 2024.
It is unclear if the zoo will remain in the hands of FUNDAZOO for the duration of the contract, they have notoriously kept the zoos in poor conditions. In 2006, one employee contracted a case of leptospirosis, a bacterial infectious disease spread through urine.
For missing the deadline by one day, it seems a harsh price to pay to keep animals in capitivity for another 10 years. Now, only time and fervent public pressure will tell if the zoos will be shut down sooner.